Tuesday, April 30, 2019

I'm not okay. But I'm okay because I'm hidden away while the storm rages on.

It's the last hour of April 30 and I'm holding my breath, just hoping walang pasabog pang hahabol because let me tell you: April was a really interesting month. Nag-earthquake pa! Here's a recap:

Piero getting an x-ray for his arm

(1) Papa got sick and then he died. Witnessing his deterioration was a horror I don't ever want to go through again. I'm grateful I went through only a few days of it, compared to my younger sister who was Papa's constant caregiver. She is working through her emotions and I am sure they are deeper than mine because caring for someone heroically and yet they died anyway is a despair I was spared from, and for that I am relieved. Of course, that relief makes me feel guilty.

(2) Those terrible two weeks were filled with us siblings working out hurts and misunderstandings with Papa and with each other. All the while fighting through fear and worry, too! And yet we were also enveloped by love, kindness and generosity from family, friends and neighbors, even complete strangers. Ibang level ang emotions. I don't think I've processed everything yet.

(3) My bunso Piero fractured his arm when he was playing with his brothers and cousins. That was definitely an ordeal kasi sumabay siya sa lamay ni Papa.

(4) Of course I couldn't go to the office while all of the above was happening but I worked when I could. Still, there was a lot I couldn't do so when I finally went back to the office after Holy Week, I was (and still am) swamped with work. I am truly drowning and I don't know what to do.

(5) I lost my wallet. You know the last time I lost my wallet? Right after my mother died. And now it's happened again!

I think I may look okay outside but inside I'm a mess. I don't feel it but my actions show it. I'm distracted. I'm tired. I'm sleepy. I'm not aware of things. I forget things. I misplace things. I lose things. And my anxiety is threatening to come back and overwhelm me. I can feel it simmering just under my smiles.

So I'm supposed to catch up on work and blogging and chores, but I just had to pause. I had to take stock of my mental and emotional health. And, nope, things may look okay but I'm not okay. Accepting that made me feel better. I always focus on what's wrong first. I think that's always the first step to getting better, right? Sobrang uso ngayon ang "Positivity! Good vibes! Happy thoughts only!" I think that's actually contributing to a lot of mental breakdowns because we're not allowed to feel ugly.

I don't think I'll be okay for a while. And yet I also realized as I worked through my emotions that I am also very happy. I'm happy I am alive and healthy, that my husband and I are still together and happy, that we have three wonderful and healthy boys, that I have a job and my bosses are good to me, that I have family and friends who love us. I'm happy I have faith in a Sovereign God because I may not be in an emotionally great place and yet I also am. Did that even make sense?!

A few days ago, when I was realizing my simultaneous joy and grief, I posted these on Instagram:

I was really happy about how I wasn't sinking into despair because of God's promise! But then I started getting a lot of messages about my posts. Many were happy I've "quickly recovered" and "moved on" and how inspiring I am because I "don't feel sad anymore."

Guys, I am sad. I am very sad. I think there is also anger in me and lots of guilt. There is shock and horror. There are emotions I feel but haven't truly confronted yet because I'm scared. I see myself standing in a hurricane and everything is whirling around me and I can't breathe and I'm afraid because I don't know how long this will last. Yet I am also not afraid because I'm not standing alone. I am shielded from the storm. I can see and hear the wildness around me and it is very scary, but I'm also safe. Wild, right?!

There is a verse in the Bible that I always turn to when I'm afraid. I always say I'm brave, right? Courage is my middle name! But I'm always afraid, mamas. Always always always. Especially when I became a mommy. And when fear is overtaking me, I hide in God's promise of protection.

Exodus 33: 21-22 says, "Then the Lord said, 'There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock. When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by.'"

It's so visual for me! When there is a storm, when there are enemies, when there are monsters out there or in my head, God will hide me in a cleft in the rock and cover me with His hand. The cleft is a dark and not comfortable place. Plus, the storm is still out there, the enemies are still hunting me down, or the monsters are still threatening me but I am safely hidden while God works His miracles. I just need to wait safely. And I have to be hidden because God's glory can be too much!

So I'm not okay but I'm also okay. Right now, I am so not okay that I have to hide away. I don't know when I'll get better. Some days are great. Some days I cry. But every day I am grateful I have a family to welcome me home when things get too much. I'm especially grateful I have placed my trust in a God who thinks it's totally all right to hide in His love when the world gets too crazy like my world's been crazy this April.

It's nearly midnight! Leaving April now with this old and beloved hymn I sang as a child and comforts my sad yet joyful heart now. I hope it comforts you, too!

A wonderful Savior is Jesus my Lord,
A wonderful Savior to me;
He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock,
Where rivers of pleasure I see.
He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock
That shadows a dry, thirsty land;
He hideth my life in the depths of His love,
And covers me there with His hand,
And covers me there with His hand.


  1. Hugs, Frances! Including you in my prayers. Know that your Dear Readers are here for and with you.

  2. Glad that you have the love in writing and you get to write/express your feelings. it's also a therapy and at the same time, we, as your readers can also relate to you. Praying for you to remain strong and your family.

    P.S. I may not comment often but I am a fan of yours. Happy labor day!

  3. I feel the sadness but also the peace. And agree, only God can give us all the rest we need in times of grief, loss, and brokenness. Praying for you Fran. Huugs!

  4. Hi Frances, all these are really very heavy to bear. It's okay not to be okay. And in fact, it's in these times when we see more of God's strength.

    Jen and I pray that you'd experience God's tangible presence and comfort through all these. We love you and your family.


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